duce williams - miami folk

i really like duce williams' description for his release 'miami folk': 'miami folk is my perspective of folk music from a guy in miami'. another post where i can say this is the kind of thing that MFOA is all about.

the two tunes presented on 'miami folk'  have a modern edge and seem to tell a folk story, one of life and love. the songs are personal and intimate, delivered in a warm, welcoming voice surrounded by rousing, acoustic-anthem production.

get it here.

yesper - senses sensei

'senses sensei', the latest release by seattle lofi electro-folk artist yesper, is a pretty, laid-back and whispery affair. the gauzy moods on the album were provided in part by the recording process, as the album was recorded surreptitiously in the heights of an unfinished apartment building.

the sneaking around involved lends the album a secretive, romantic feel, which is complimented by hushed self harmonies and click-clack rhythms. it's a great fall listen.

get the album here.

the leeway - s/t

new york indie folksters the leeway bring big harmonies and prog-rock musical flourishes to the romantic, swaying tunes on their self-titled debut EP. while the harmonies sound down home, the production and song structures of composer pedro barquinha betray a musical sophistication not always found in all-acoustic rootsy type bands. at times, the leeway even veers into classicist, nearly baroque, pop territory, while still maintaining a simplicity of instrumentation.

grab the EP here. check out a video for their tune 'come back' below.

ben clabault - a selection of songs

there is precious little information in ben clabault's internet presence, which is so rare at this point as to be refreshing. his soundcloud simply shows a picture of him in a sushi bar, says he's from amherst, and has a ton of songs. and the songs are great. complex in both lyric themes and songs structure but simple in presentation, these songs are charming and caught my ear immediately. the historical ballad 'sand creek', about the massacre of an entire village of cheyenne by the colorado militia, is moving and stark. the latest song, 'tonight', has a dark and brooding vibe. other tunes range from personal and romantic to political to just instrumental. it's all presented in the simplest man-and-guitar laptop recording style, putting you face to face with clabault's deadpan but tuneful loner
folk vocal style. i don't know what else to say about this except this kind of submission is the reason i started MFOA in the first place. highly, highly recommended. check out a few tunes below.

there are too many gems to post. go to ben's soundcloud and check out a bunch more songs.

a sad fairwell to the blue nile

the blue nile was a bar and ethiopian restaurant in harrisonburg virginia, but it was much more than that. it was a spiritual home and creative center for a small town's thriving music scene, made that way by the wonderful people that owned it, operated it, and hung out there. from acid folk to black metal to DJ nights, the nile and its staff supported everyone. it was a true home for DIY music and 'the modern folk music of america' it just closed. huge bummer. i worked there in 2008-2009 and played there many times. many fine memories. the fine folks at lurid pictures put together this sweet video in commemoration of the final night, set to the bittersweet cinnamon band jam, 'buena vista'.

Blue Nile (v1) from Lurid Pictures on Vimeo.

the closing of the blue nile made me think of the following two recordings, which were made during the time i worked there, and that i just added to practice records.

RIP nile.

nate henricks - apple juice

the excellent bedroom psych wizard nate henricks is back with 'apple juice', the follow up to his previous release 'neon for no one', a solid slab of lysergic lofi rock pastiche that rewards repeated spins of the cassette, released on crash symbols records.

'apple juice' builds on henrick's layered homemade power pop sound, at time reaching depths of heaviness unheard on the previous release. the sound collage approach of hyper-melodic jams dissolving into found sound space outs, and in the case of this album, some weird 8-bit, voice-pitched passages, remains. henrick's ear for a timeless rock melody has only grown stronger, as his ability to bury that melody under layers of weirdness. another one in the recommended column. 

get it here. nate is also getting some love from fellow travelers spacerockmountain.

electrician - billowing clouds

electrician is an electronic noise/punk type duo on perpeptual tour, living from an RV of some sort. 'billowing clouds' is a haunting ambient dirge composed mostly of synth-horns that alternately stab and drone and unsettling talk-singing about fear and paranoia.

the song retains some semblance of a relationship with pop music through the inclusion of melodic 'la-las' that sit deep in the mix under the eerie and antagonistic synths. there are moments in this song that bring to mind some of the great late 70's early 80's synth-based film scores, such as vangelis' blade runner and mark isham's trouble in mind.

get if for free here.

brandon cunningham - give out

brandon cunningham, of chicago, delivers four tunes worth of dreamy, melancholy modern folk rock on his latest EP 'give out'. the tunes feature a slow and atmospheric approach, featuring swelling, hazy slide guitar, that at times builds to a post-rock influenced maelstrom of washed out distortion and feedback behind cunningham's confessional whispers and moans.

the stark and stormy moods created by the electric guitars provide a good backdrop for the self reflection and soul searching that takes place within cunningham's lyrics.

get the EP here.

the aquatic safety - dr. zizmor never dies

'dr. zizmor never dies' by brooklyn's the aquatic safety is a concise and satisfying study in the possibilities of lofi music that retains its pop sensibilities. although i try to avoid comparisons here, this bedroom pop two-piece wears its guided by voices influence prominently on its sleeves, right down to the collage style cover art.

the fact remains that this a quality lofi indie rock/pop album. the old patch-cord buzz and tape clicks and fuzz cannot completely obscure the hooky songwriting chops and off-kilter beatles-isms to be found lurking within this album.

get it here.

opus dog - responsible people

opus dog is a rip-roaring, incredibly high energy folk-punk band out of wisconsin. their music combines the speed and thrust of punk rock, especially behind the drum kit, with frantic, skillful fiddling, yell-singing and strummy guitar and mandolin work.

on their latest album 'responsible people' the band does have its pensive moments in-between bursts of energy, which serve to highlight rough-hewn, lilting harmonies and more finger-picking oriented guitar. there are even electrified moments.

get the album here.

dirty street kids - hand of the devil

with their album 'hand of the devil', tennesseans dirty street kids live up their name. they perform the type of driving, ragged folk-punk that can be heard performed on street corners in by train-riders in greasy carhartt over-alls who carry their instruments on their backs as they travel. the train on the album cover seems to indicate the band takes part in this lifestyle.

the street kids might be dirty but the musicianship displayed on the album is fairly clean and tight, aside from the vocals which are shouted in traditional gutteral crust punk style. the tunes are about traveling and drinking, mostly.

get it here from orange-sls records.

julian fulton - paris, idaho

composed as an entry for a 24-hour songwriting contest, julian fulton's 'paris, idaho' is a baroque-pop feast for the ears, resounding with lush instrumentation and psychedelic flair.

this tune is a home-recording side project away from julian's band, the zombie gospel.

get it here.

we were once sparrows - walking the words

we were once sparrows is the stage name of darius greene, and he makes dark, brooding folk tunes featuring intricate guitar lines and sinister lyrics. some of the guitar figures seem to have a slight metal influence, along with their minor-key folkiness.

included in this three-tune set is a take on the song tradition of the two sisters, also known as 'dreadful wind and rain', one of the creepiest murder-ballad type folk tunes ever to migrate from great britain to the hills of appalachia, and one of my favorites of the genre.

stream it on soundcloud, name your price for the single 'walking the words' on bandcamp.

jeff tynan - better i was (video)

'better i was' is the lead single from australian singer-songwriter jeff tynan's debut EP 'revolving', out now. the song is a bittersweet contemporary folk/pop meditation on the nuances of the old idea that ignorance can sometimes be bliss. swelling, low strings create a somber atmosphere around tynan's plucked guitar, instrospective lyrics, and world-weary voice.

get the EP here.

holy shadow - recorded in the goucher woods

holy shadow is the recording name of a lofi, distant-sounding and unsettling bedroom (or maybe forest?) folk project from maine (i love that state) with a lengthy back catalog of recordings.

the latest album, 'recorded in the goucher woods' ranges from off-kilter weird to haunting, with minimalist production, lyrical eccentricities, and a distinctive back-woodsy warbling vocal delivery that at times degenerates into yelling and exhortations.

get that and more here. grab some of holy shadow's work on cassette from too far gone records or on CD from all we've got records.

the pathetic and elegant - i am in love

the pathetic and elegant is the bedroom recording project of lucas fisher, inspired by the unique experience of a year spent studying abroad in japan. another interesting thing about the pathetic and elegant's debut album 'i am in love' is that is released under the auspices of spellabee space, and amorphous art collective supporting creative endeavors in all mediums from baltimore, maryland.

the music is clever, whistful lofi keyboard indie-pop that speaks, both in terms of sonic impression and lyrical themes, to the over-stimulation coupled with loneliness and isolation that one can experience when embedded in a foreign land far from anything they love or are familiar with. it's pretty good. 

get it here.

the rebel light - strangers

'strangers', the latest single by LA retro-minded indie poppers the rebel light, is an impressive feat, packing a huge 60's pastiche pop/rock punch, with a modern edge, despite being a completely home recorded effort.

'ba-ba-ba-ba' vocal flourishes and sunny guitars recall the california pop of the 60's while shiny synths and intricate song structures give the song a contemporary indie feel. 

get it here.

ellis swan - i'll be around

'i'll be around' by chicago bedroom folkster ellis swan is a restrained study in lofi atmospheres. creepy story-esque lyrics and moody musical zones inhabited by woodblock and bongo percussion and droney, loopy organs invite a tom waits comparison at times, but the overall approach is much more subtle.

the music is muted and dusty sounding and the vocals are whispered and breathy. the overall effect is timeless, intimate, and foreboding. moments of musical and noise-based reverie at times cut the listener adrift from the more coherent narratives and click-clack rhythms featured in most of the songs.

get it here.

zen anton - resemblance

'resemblance' is the lead single from the debut EP of the same name by new york singer/songwriter zen anton. the tune features deeply personal lyrics revealing a struggle with identity and family legacies.

the song offers some surprises in terms of its sound. starting with measured, clean guitar picking and anton's smooth deep voice, the song bursts into double speed halfway through, the strumming going the way of a frantic flamenco, and the vocal performance twisting to near abstraction with emotion, before settling back into the original groove for the final verse. it's a great touch.

name your price for the EP here.

coed pageant - drag

coed pageant has a very appropriate band name. a guy-girl drum/guitar two piece band that creates stomping, anthemic indie pop/rock that has a big presence, like a pageant. but unlike a typical pageant, they trade in earnestness, favoring lyrics detailing heart-on-the-sleeve late night narratives book-ended by choruses big and harmony drenched enough to belie their small numbers.

their latest album 'drag', recorded at a place called the palace flophouse (a reference to one of my favorite books ever, john steinbeck's 'cannery row'), expands the production beyond the two piece mold, adding hooky piano and some lead guitar. but i imagine these two put on a rousing live show without those trappings. 

get it here.

the city of light - s/t

texas based one-man recording project city of light brings warm, swirling psych-pop on it's self titled debut EP. spacey guitars, soft, sugary self harmonies, and generally hazy production impart a summery feel to these dazed, nostalgic bedroom jams.

the tunes feel like a memory from a past early fall that never happened, a slightly psychedelic simulacra in sound (i'm having a little fun with this one).

get it here.

the dog of the north - lo-fuckingtastic

the debut album 'lo-fuckingtastic' by ireland-based bedroom songwriter the dog of the north, is not only lo-fi but it seems to be lo-self-esteem, as the bandcamp tags include 'dog shit', 'fuck folk' and 'shit folk', and the email he sent me included a record low amount of self promotion (refreshing), something like 'oh, i might as well send you this i guess...'

well of course he was right to send it to me. i like this moody, atmospheric album of song sketches. the description on bandcamp hints at the fact that the sometimes improvisational recording was also a learning process, and paradoxically, an exercise in silence. these factors lend the album some interesting textures and unexpected moments. of course, the whole thing is kind of covered by a depressive cloud, but that's almost always a good thing with music, and it suits the dog of the north's distant, lofi loner folk well.

get it free here.

gnarlos - well hell

gnarlos is a solo folk punker from fayetteville, arkansas. his newest tune, 'well hell', is about the finer things in life, like a bag of weed, a can of beer, and some good friends, as opposed to the man's god and money.

recorded man-and-guitar style, this tune is a little bit on the folkier side of folk punk, and you can hear gnarlos's arkansan drawl. this song reminds me, spiritually and sound-wise of janis joplin's mercedes benz song.

get that and a few more right here.

zachary novack - a few tunes

zachary novack's soundcloud is full of stripped down, lofi, short form glimpses into the gritty punk rock lifestyle. here are a few of them. bare bones, no holds barred folk punk here that is not afraid to be confrontational.

listen to more here.

charlie slenko of sioux trails records - the MFOA interview

charlie slenko is a songwriter, bedroom/basement recording artist, and one of three people involved in the experimental DIY online record label sioux trails records. he has two new albums out this month, 'rented rooms' and 'moonlight veneration', both of which are great lofi jams. one of my favorite discoveries through MFOA, the folks over at sioux trails are true fellow travelers. charlie was kind enough to answer a few of my questions below.

MFOA: what gave you the idea to present you and your friend's homemade music in the form of a digital, DIY record label? is there a particular philosophy that inspires sioux trails records?

CS: sioux trails is really the shared creation of henry hyde, francis mckeys, and myself. we all went to grade school together, played music together (and separately) and eventually— rather recently — decided to make some of this available to other people, just for the hell of it. we play shows every now and then, but most of what we do has just been making records to listen to and trade among ourselves. i’d say henry was really the grandfather of it all. francis and i were in a band with some other friends at the time (around 2004 or 2005), and we were all friends with henry. we eventually heard these records he was making in his basement down the street and it kind of changed everything. it definitely changed my outlook on what I could do with music, and what making music was all about.

we eventually started digitizing everything as a way to preserve the tapes that we were making, since those things get ruined so easily. plus we all started to scatter over the country and digital music is so much easier to share. we still mostly do 4-track recording, though, because that’s what we started on, and that’s what were used to. some of the records on sioux trails are digitally recorded, but generally, and i know i can speak for henry and myself here, we like the process of cassette recording — you get four tracks to get what you want out of a song. if you don’t record vocals with something else you might be out of luck, or if you want a solo instrument you gotta save space. it makes you approach a song in a very specific way. plus you find yourself getting strange tape sounds and interesting accidents that we generally sort of welcome. i know we’ve kept certain tracks strictly based on something weird that happened during the take that we knew we could never reproduce.

in terms of philosophies i’d say deconstruction, moral skepticism, and spiritualism.

MFOA: i'm sure it has changed over the years, but what is your current, or your favorite, recording setup?

CS: i haven’t had an apartment to myself for about 5 years. i’ve lived with family, i’ve lived with friends, i’ve lived with strangers. just recently i got my own place again and i’ve been free to make my setup a mainstay of my daily space, which is nice. i have my electric guitar (an austin telecaster knock-off) and a nice 80’s model tube amp made by ampeg called the reverbrocket [MFOA: that's a kick-ass amp], which sounds like a goddamn dream. This amp has been out of my life for about a year, so it’s nice to be playing that again. i also have my steel-string acoustic, a mandolin, a bunch of harmonicas, and a pretty terrible sounding drum machine i picked up in western pennsylvania a while back called the rhythm beat. you get to hear that beauty on the last tracks of both of my newest releases. all my recording is done through a tascam porta02mkII that henry hyde let me borrow about 6 years ago, when I made 'the space between the stars', which was an incredible experience for me.

i love playing with friends, but there’s something really liberating about putting a song down track by track and getting into that weird headspace for a couple hours, and coming out with something that sounds exactly like what you wanted it to sound like, without even knowing what sound you were going for.

that being said, if you get francis on a drum set with any assortment of musicians, especially veronica from matador or robert redhouse from glass men, and things are going to get really out of hand really quick, in a really fucking awesome way. i love being a part of that.

MFOA: your newest release, 'rented rooms' was recorded over a period of transience in various different locations. do you find the limiting factors of transience and working in different types of rooms with basic set-ups inspiring? do you enjoy getting the best out of what you have to work with?

CS: when henry and i were recording a lot together — especially on albums like 'open highways', 'ghost fights', and 'minor outlying islands' — we recorded in silos, in attics, basements, out in the woods, by rivers, by campfires, whatever, just to see what kind of sound we could get. we once recorded in this big run down antique store in our home town that was 4 floors of junk. it literately looked like the people bought the place full of junk and just left it that way. you could go in and shop, but I don’t think anyone ever really did. it was actually a really confusing experience if you wanted to purchase something because there was no one in there. i heard it closed down now, which isn’t surprising. anyway, the top floors were inhabited mostly by birds because the windows were all busted out, but there were these old out of tune pianos up there, so naturally we found a way to record some tracks on those for our 'ghost fights' album, which was probably our most ambitious album in terms of what we were trying to accomplish. another track from 'ghost fights' was recorded underground in a cave that henry found in the woods. we had to bring candles, and traverse this crevasse and climb through all these little spaces to get to where we wanted to record inside of the cave, which was like a maze, so we could only get a mandolin back there with us, but we did it. henry eventually had to map out the interior tunnels of the cave so we wouldn’t get lost down there on future excursions. [MFOA: that cave recording story is great!]

so, really, it would be weirder for me to record everything in one place at one time. we attempted that with 'back roads', but in the end we ended up using some of the demo recordings that we had recorded in other places at other times that we just preferred the sound of. i guess we get bored with albums that have the same sound the entire way through.

MFOA: on the flipside of the previous question, does squeezing music making in around the rest of your life and creating within those limitations, such as basic equipment and rooms where you might not be able to get loud, or being on the road and not having access to your favorite collaborators, ever frustrate you?

CS: yeah, it frustrates the hell out of me. in the house were i grew up in southern pennsylvania there was a root cellar in the basement, kind of hidden all the way back by the furnace. the walls and ceiling of the cellar were all thick cement and the floor was just sand. we could, and often did, play all night, as loud as we wanted, and you couldn’t hear a sound anywhere else in the house. my parents sold the house and moved a little while back, so i couldn’t even go back if i wanted, but it was great while it lasted. i hate having to tailor what i want to do to my surroundings, but that is the reality of life, and sometimes it turns out alright. on the song 'the condemned' from 'rented rooms' the vocal track sounds like i am whispering all the words with my mouth up against the microphone, because it was 2 AM and i was living in a house with people that i barely knew, people who i had met at a bar who happened to need a roommate when i needed a room, and you could hear a pin drop in that old house at night. i was trying to be polite, and i was annoyed about it at the time because i really wanted to get a good sound on that one, but in hindsight i kind of like how it came out, in fact it sort of fits with the song. if we were to do that song live it would be a whole different animal, though.

i really love playing shows, it’s great to take a song and do something completely different with it, maybe find out things about it that you overlooked or underestimated, but we rarely have the opportunity. all of us are scattered now — pennsylvania, louisiana, california, and i live in illinois now. it’s frustrating living in chicago with all these great venues and no band. i’ve played a couple solo shows in my life, but i don’t like it, it makes me nervous i guess. Or, i don’t know, maybe it doesn’t. maybe i just don’t care enough about booking shows by myself. when you are playing solo and you get a shitty crowd there’s nothing you can do about it, just try to keep your chin up and keep singing, but when you have a band you can turn the fuck up and it’s probably a better feeling than getting a good response to a show, honestly. francis and I definitely have some experience with that.

MFOA: if you could recommend a few of your favorite of the many sioux trails releases, what would those be?

CS: the newest francis mckeys album is a powerhouse. it’s possession and exorcism and at times its pretty goddamn intimidating. i like music that isn’t always easy to listen to. music is more to me than nice sounds. that being said, the robert redhouse EP is fucking beautiful. five original songs by the best acoustic guitar player i know, with a hell of a voice. there’s this great split EP i did with veronica, and her track, under the name the second floor porches, is a room full of organs and guitars, mediative and drone-y. really, really strong. it’s the kind of song i love to put on real loud and late and let myself dissolve in. francis has been pushing for a full length from her for a while, but at this point it seems like that won’t be coming any time soon. i do know of tracks in progress, though, so we’ll see. i definitely listen to a lot of henry hyde and his earlier work as trucks go by. there’s 'spider's tonic' on the site, but theres also a slew of earlier albums he made before that. he won’t let me put those out, but i listen to them all quite a bit. they are the records that made me want to make records. his newest album, 'paul’s last waltz' is great, too, and i’ve heard some of what he’s working on now and i am really excited to hear the full album. the one full track i have heard off of it is called 'ohio river flowing north' and it’s probably one of the most beautiful songs i’ve ever heard. i tried to learn it and play it, but I can just never get the same sound that he does. definitely the most honest songwriter I know of.

i don’t know about my own records — they’re all separate but equal in my eyes. however, the matador EP, made with francis and henry is one i listen to a lot, that  really really love. we were practicing for a show we had to throw together, and it was just basically two mic’s hanging from the ceiling and recording everything we did, then i pulled out my favorite tracks and put them in order. That album has some of my favorite songs i ever wrote, most of which aren’t on any other records, and the instrumentation and energy is something I could never get out of recording by myself. also, both matador albums, 'a portrait of the american spirit' and 'recreational burials' i love. that’s francis, veronica, and myself. semi-automatic music. loud, very loud. Those albums are where the deconstruction, moral skepticism, and spiritualism come into play.


you can find all those albums and more at sioux trails records for free. stream 'recreational burials', a noisy wild blast that i am also fond of, below.

dead professional - bad memory

'bad memory' is the single from 'hard hard hard', the long time coming debut album from virginia's favorite bedroom power-pop mozart, john harouff AKA dead professional. the release is highly anticipated, as dead professional has been building a loyal fanbase by keeping up an ambitious live schedule, at times stepping out of the one-man-band mold and performing as a power trio, including opening for acts as well known as ryan adams.

despite this head of steam, 'bad memory' hits all of the dead professional trademarks: memorable, harmony laden choruses, the knack-esque insistent drum beat pounding, is that a slight southern accent?, sharp power-pop sensibilities and clean-as-a-whistle guitar chopping. this song has an amazing breakdown...'i remember one time we were kissing...' just wait for it.

'hard hard hard' will be available november 18th. pre-order it here.

jay satellite - a record

in some ways, 'a record' is a debut. at least it is the first album jay friedman is putting out under the name jay satellite, having tired of his former MC handle 'satellite high' for various reasons (he also records ambient type stuff under the name jonathan livingston greyskull). it is somewhat of a change in direction, too, although the forward thinking, highly organic, experimental hip-hop to be found on 'a record' was foreshadowed by the last satellite high album.

the music of 'a record' is mostly live sounds made by jay, bedroom recording style, instead of sampled beats, with the exception of the variant produced banger 'my stuff', which is the most traditionally hip-hop song on the album, and a damn catchy one at that. while most of the songs retain the idea of 'rapping' over music, this is certainly a genre pushing album that presents a struggle with artistic identity in both the lyrics and the music. elements of jazz, drone, early ambient, minimalism, metal and prog make themselves heard throughout the album. the inclusion of a cover of the dave holland classic 'conference of the birds' is a bold choice, but if any avant-garde jazz song lends itself to a slight hip-hop style funkifying, that one does.

get it here. another one that falls into the recommended category. favorite tracks include the minimalist 'lord alfred hayes (featuring jesse dangerously)' and the dave holland cover.

ali murray - further still

ali murray's 'further still' is a study in whispers and atmospheres. each song begins and ends with what feels like the sound of mist and lonely seaside breezes, and then the delicate guitar, breathy layers of voices, and dark lyrics of ali murray, accompanied at times by fluttering mandolin or yawning keyboards, make their way in. recorded on the isle of lewis in northern scotland, the album sounds like i imagine that place to be. dark, misty and lonesome.

name your price for it here.

sarah louise - field guide

the mountains and valleys of north carolina and the surrounding states seem lately to be producing a bumper crop of new recordings in the guitar soli genre, following in the footsteps of luminaries whose names are becoming all too easy to invoke in write-ups like these. however, unlike the unending reviews and blog posts (my bad), each new recording has a singular charm and merit of it's own. such is the case with sarah louise's 'field guide', a gossamer like album of guitar soli excursions, mountain ragas, and timeless renditions of appalachian hymns.

the album starts with a guitar ramble, with notes that flow from the speaker like clear water over blue ridge limestone. but the surprise of the album comes in sarah louise's stark, haunting renditions of the songs of the old-time, backwoods religion of appalachian hollers. her first variation of the spiritual 'home over yonder' sounds more like an ecstatic expression of faith and sorrow due to the modern and psychedelic touch of coupling her voice with a droning keyboard passed through a wah pedal.

name your price for it here. highly recommended.

chloe march - winter deep (video)

british songstress chloe march brings stately, artsy dream-pop on 'winter deep', the lead single from her album 'nights bright days', receiving the re-release treatment from hidden shoal recordings this november.

the song has a subdued feel, with the turmoil inherent in the lyrics bubbling below a frosty soundscape of rhythmic strings and piano and swelling synths. chloe march's voice has a quality of intimacy and distance held at a delicate tension, which fits the tentative step of the music.

stream and download the track below.

'nights bright days' is available november 4th from hidden shoal recordings.

bicycle day - i had a place to be

bay area garage-punk three piece bicycle day create dark, nihlistic space-punk on their first full length recording effort 'i had a place to be'. elements of surf-rock creep in to the proceedings in the form of layers of reverb and some noodly riffs and intrumental experimentations, but the base of the music is punk, in it's more droned out psychedelic form.

recorded in a lofi manner befitting the material, 'i had a place to be' pounds, screams and crunches out of your speakers.

get it here.

nathaniel lotze - in the heartland now

'in the heartland now' is one of the emotional, confessional ballads that characterize nathaniel lotze's debut EP 'psalms and shovels'. a quiet and sad song of being lost inside the country and inside oneself, it's recorded in the simplest man-and-guitar style, allowing the weight of the words to settle onto your mind like the winter's first snow.

the other tunes on 'psalms and shovels' share a similar tone and production. whistful, quiet roadsongs in the tradition of classic american balladeers. stream the whole EP here. below, check out the EP version of  'in the heartland now' and a live version of 'the shores of california'.

buy the EP digitally here.

the hazy souls - shout, stomp and hope for the best

on 'shout, stomp and hope for the best', the debut EP from new jersey's the hazy souls, the upbeat folk trio seems to be doing just that. the album is fast paced and forward looking, loping and galloping along with folksy instrumentation and home-spun harmonies.

the songs at times speak to loneliness and distance, but they contain the ray of hope mentioned in the album title. the homesick tune 'read the signs' even has a line about going back to old virginia, which always charms me.

get it right here, same price for the download or the CD copy.

c.m. slenko - moonlight veneration and rented rooms

as i have said before, c.m. slenko, the man behind the great sioux trails digital record label, is a serious fellow traveler when it comes to what i am trying to do here on MFOA and over at practice records. so when he let me know he had just finished two recording projects, i was excited to soak them in and write about them a little bit.

'moonlight veneration' sounds a lot like it's name implies. washed out, meditative, distorted instrumental pieces. in some ways, the recordings here remind of american primitive style music, completely stripped of the pretensions sometimes associated with that genre. i like this album a lot...a great zoner. 

'rented rooms' includes some tunes of type described above, along with folk songs, stories, and other experiments, at varying, generally low, levels of fidelity.

recorded in different places over a disjointed year, the album embraces contradiction, telling a cohesive story of disconnection.

as usual, you can get them both for free, right here.

article 47 - like wolves

article 47 of tampa, florida, are a squalling, distortion heavy indie/psych/grunge band. on their latest tune, 'like wolves', they aren't afraid to push the waves of feedback, machine gun drums, and marble mouthed 90's vocal stylings to forefront, creating, a hazy, shifting, prog/grunge (even shoegaze?) pastiche that takes a few listens to wrap your head around.

you can also check out their last full length, 'swallowing the sun', below.

get it here.

one way ticket - hold on

'hold on' is the newest single from charlotte, north carolina neo-soul/hip-hop group one way ticket. this hook-laden track has a retro feel while remaining current.

you can here the crackle of the vinyl samples, and the 'hold on' hook, sung in a tight soul harmony, is catchy as hell. the few bars from the group's MC are solid southern hip-hop molasses.

i like the sound of this group quite a bit, so i thought i would also share a stream of their last full-length album, 'global warming', which will probably warm you up.

get that here.

matt pless - songs in the key of blue

prolific DIY tourer and acoustic folk punker matt pless, who i have featured here before, is back with a new EP, 'songs in the key of blue', available on 7" vinyl from OGC records and digitally from him.

'songs in the key of blue' finds matt pless a little more laid back, at times very dylan-esque, with the accompaniment of drums, another guitar, and some claw hammer type banjo to flush out these traditionally informed tunes of booze, loneliness and sorrow.

get it here.

elison jackson - do not fear to kill a dead man

elison jackson of connecticut makes upbeat basement indie rock: 'wood music', they call it on their website. mid-fi, hook heavy tunes make up 'do not fear to kill a dead man', the featured album on their bandcamp site, which is newly available on digipak CD as well as digital download.

personal, homemade indie-rock-pop tunes with a modern sensibility and orchestration that strains at times against the cinder block walls of the garage or basement it was recorded in.

get it here.

pauline andres - sweet fortune tellin' ma

'sweet fortune tellin' ma' is the lead single off the newest upcoming album by pauline andres, a french chanteuse with a dusky, hard-livin' voice who channels the deep roots of americana by way of berlin.

twangy guitars, swaying drums and woozy accordions set up a smokey barroom in which pauline andres sings this story of doubt and uncertainty.

get the tune here for now. the album, 'all them ghosts' will be out on october 14th.


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